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GM Asks former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to Lead Internal Investigation

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Tina Robinson3 years ago

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee meeting Tuesday afternoon in Washington to answer questions about the automaker’s ignition switch recall.

Outside Consultant Anton Valukas Hired by GM

One of the key pieces of information revealed by Barra’s testimony today was that GM has asked former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to investigate the internal processes that led to the massive vehicle recall. Barra repeatedly dodged questions from Congressional members, citing an ongoing investigation headed by Valukas.

Ignition Switches Failed to Meet Specifications

Questions on Tuesday centered on when GM was aware of a problem with the ignition switches and why the part was approved, despite failing to meet GM torque requirements. Delphi, who manufactured the switches, told investigators that GM approved the switch even though the automaker was aware the parts tested below specifications. The defective switches tested around 4-10 torque when GM specifications recommended 20 torque with a variance of +/- five.

Barra confirmed that GM approved the part anyway. When asked pointedly if that was a common practice at GM, Barra stated no. She also noted that there is a difference between a part being “below specifications” and “defective.”

Changes in Culture at GM

House Representatives questioned whether or not GM had a company culture that routinely put cost before customer safety. One representative cited 2005 documents that show GM opted not to implement a solution to the defective ignition switches because of high tooling price and piece costs. Estimates say the cost to fix the defective switches would have been as low as 57 cents per vehicle.

Barra said that today’s GM seeks to put safety first. 


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